It is chilled water stilled for warming in his mouth

to neither quench a need nor slack a present thirst.

Instead, he spits it to rust red oxide for a paled shade

 he etches onto limestone…death art…dry frescoed

deep within her tomb where he drafts windowed staging

for her afterlife…anneals gold blue red green radiance

on her ointment jars…her ankh…her amulet…with a reed

mashed tip he softens with his teeth.

There in drifting mote shafts he outlines a dream sphere

for inhabitance at some future flooding of the Nile.

He furnishes it angled…ethereal mid-air float suspend

into plane geometry of a desert math heedless

of the slipping one world to the next.

Bonnie Marshall

Illustration: Stele of Princess Nefertiabet

Old Kingdom Egyptian, 2550-2565


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